Everything You Need to Know About Planning the Perfect Engagement Party
Congratulations, you’re engaged! While your thoughts might automatically go to setting a date and planning for the big day, you don’t want to miss out on the chance to celebrate with family and friends well before the wedding. That’s where the engagement party comes in, making it the perfect opportunity to gather everyone together before the craziness of wedding planning begins. Not sure where to start? Here's everything you need to know about planning the perfect engagement party.
What is an engagement party?
An engagement party is a get-together to celebrate the fact that you and your partner are now engaged to be married. It is usually held a few months after the proposal and kicks off the other pre-wedding celebrations to come, such as the wedding shower and the bachelor/bachelorette parties.
As for what your engagement party should be like, it’s really up to you and your future spouse. You can make the celebration as formal or casual as you want--and even share your engagement video (if you have one) with all of your guests. You can also have more than one party (yes, it’s true!), so if you want to celebrate with just your families and then have a separate soiree with friends, that is more than fine.
Why should I have an engagement party?
Do you really need an excuse to eat, drink and celebrate with your nearest and dearest? Other than the fact that it’s fun, the engagement party is also a great time to introduce anyone from both sides of the family who haven’t already met, as well as an opportunity for members of the wedding party to get acquainted since they will be spending a lot of time with one another in the coming months.
Who gets invited to an engagement party?
As with all of the pre-wedding festivities, anyone who gets an invite to the engagement party should also get invited to the wedding. With that in mind, this is a great opportunity to really think about the guest list for your wedding before you send out the invitations for the engagement party.
Who throws the engagement party?
While traditionally the bride’s parents host the engagement party, there are no rules as to who should host this celebration. In fact, if the couple’s families are in different locations, they can have more than one party, with each set of parents hosting their own get-together. It is also fine if the couple would like to host their own engagement party—a great idea if they want to be in charge of all of the planning.
Planning an an engagement party on a budget
You don’t need to spend a ton of money to have a memorable engagement party. In fact, you might want to keep things simple if you plan on paying for some (or all) of your wedding.
Keep the guest list small
You don’t need to invite everyone who will be included at the wedding to the engagement party. Instead, stick with family and close friends for this pre-wedding event.
Pick a free location
Host it at home in the backyard (or ask your parents or a friend if you can have it at their house) so that you don’t have to pay for a venue.
Keep décor simple
This isn’t your wedding day, so you don’t have to go overboard with the decorations. Some colorful and fun balloons, as well as string lights for when the sun goes down, is really all you need.
Serve minimal food and drinks
Guests won’t expect a sit-down dinner or even a full buffet at the engagement party. Instead, stick with a cocktail party theme and serve passed appetizers and dessert. You can also keep the bar bill down by just offering beer, wine and soda—leave the mixed drinks and signature cocktails for the wedding reception.
While favors are customary for the wedding shower and reception, you do not need to send guests home with favors for the engagement party.
Email your invites
Save money by forgoing printed invites and sending out digital invitations. This works especially well if you’re having a more casual engagement party.
Best engagement party ideas
Perfect for a daytime event, invite guests over for an outdoor feast complete with lawn games,
If you have a pool—or a family or friend with one doesn’t mind hosting—then have everyone over for some fun in the sun.
Food truck feast
Hire an assortment of food trucks so guests can walk to each and sample various dishes.
Who doesn’t love brunch? Pair your dishes with mimosas and bloody Mary’s and everyone will be super happy.
Book a sunset boat cruise where everyone can enjoy some dinner, drinks and dancing.
Rent a rooftop
If you want a more sophisticated vibe, find out if you can rent some rooftop space and hold a swanky champagne cocktail party.
Gather everyone at the beach in the late afternoon—when it’s not too hot—and then when the sun goes down, light a fire on the beach and party under the stars.
Wine & cheese soiree
Sample different wines and cheeses with family and friends to celebrate your impending nuptials.
Invite everyone over for a simple get-together and then announce that you’re engaged! Of course, this means you’ll have to hold off on telling everyone and posting the happy news on social media until after the party!
Engagement party dos and don'ts
Do figure out who is hosting
Before you start planning, find out if either set of parents wants to host (and pay) for the event. If not, you and your partner can always host the event yourselves.
Don’t feel like you need to have just one party
If you have family and friends in different areas, you can absolutely celebrate with them at different parties.
Do be careful with the guest list
Remember that anyone you invite to the engagement party should be invited to the wedding, so don’t go overboard with the number of people you ask to attend this pre-wedding celebration.
Don’t spend too much money
There is no need to break the bank when planning the engagement party. In fact, the simpler the celebration, the more stress-free it will be for you.
Do send out invites
You don’t need to splurge on paper invites (and stamps), but you should at least email out a formal invitation so guests know exactly what to expect.
Don’t expect gifts
It is never okay to ask for gifts on the invite, but the engagement party is especially an event where you really shouldn’t expect guests to show up with anything. If they do, great—but don’t count on it.
Do send thank you notes
Even if you don’t receive gifts from your guests, they still took time out of their busy lives to celebrate you. So sending a thank you note for their attendance is a must.
Who doesn't love watching videos of couples saying I do? Browse through our wedding videos to get inspired for your own big day!